Book and Journal of Robt. B. McAfee's Mounted Company, in Col. Richard M. Johnson's Regiment, from May 19th, 1813, including Orders, &cc.

July 1813

July 1st--Thursday--1813--I was ordered with 100 men to escort Gen'l Harrison to Lower Sandusky, we started about 9 o'clock and had mud for 17 miles to Portage river up to horses knees, the worst road and swamp that were ever seen, we halted but a few minutes at Portage River and then Pushed on and I got to the Fort called Stephenson at Lower Saundusky a Distance of 40 miles at dark with my horse much tired and wearied, where we found that the Indians had killed 7 persons in sight of the fort it had created a great Alarm and we were ordered in the Fort with our horses and only got 1 1/2 gallans of oats for them each (Hard times) it rained very hard and was very disagreeable I lay in a hut belonging to a wagoner and was treated with Friendship.

July 2nd--raining--Gen'l Harrison addressed the Ohio Militia of the fort who several days before were like to break off. We campt at the fort this day and in the evening Maj. Ball's squadron came up to the fort well mounted.

July 3rd--Warm--After Breakfast Gen'l Harrison started to Cleveland with Ball's squadron and in the evening my company came up and the greater part of the Regiment of Mounted men and campt in the flatt near Sanudsky River south of the fort.

July 4th--We lay at our encampment and made preparations to celebrate American Independence. I was one of the committee to prepare the toast, at 4 o'clock the Regiment assembled in the plain Col. Johnson delivered an Address to his men and a number of toasts which we had written were drank with great applause, decency, good order & hilarity prevailed amonst all and the day was passed off without any event to damp the spirit of the men--

July 5th--We had an election in my company for a sergeant in the place of Sam'l Ewing who had not come on. John Jordan was elected, also George Davin was elected Corporal in the room of Simeon Moore who had joined the Spys. a fine pleasant day. In the evening an order was issued by Col. Rh. M. Johnson for the Regt. to march to Huron River by companies and in such order as the Captains may think proper with permission to leave such men and horses as may not be able to go, we are to start in the morning.

July 6th--Early we made preparations to march from Lower Sandusky and started about 8 o'clock and crossed the Sandusky River and for ten or twelve miles the road was bad and swampy with thick woods then a fine sandy road prairies & open woods the ballance of the road to fort Liberty on Pipe creek 25 miles from Sandusky about 5 miles before arrived at the fort we found a few houses which had been deserted by their inhabitants on account of the Indians, my company encamped near the fort between it and the creek, we were treated with Friendship--about fifteen families are in the fort--Got corn for our horses.

July 7th--Started about 8 o'clock it rained and from Pipe creek we marched thro open Prairie land some parts wet until we arrived about twelve o'clock on the Banks of Lake Eri one 1/2 mile above the mouth of Huron River and went on down the margin of the lake to the mouth of the River and encamped on a small rise about 200 yards up the River. My company was the first on the ground after the Col. and in the evening we drew corn for our horses--

July 8th--the lake was calm & tranquil and Col. James Johnson, Lieut. John R. Cardwell and about 50 men took command of three Barges that had brought about 500 Bushels of corn & oats yesterday and which was presst. by Col. Rh. M. Johnson for the use of his Regiment, and started back with the boats to Cleveland for more corn & oats, raining at night.

July 9th--lay in camp, the waves of the lake five or six feet high and windy Col. Rh. M. Johnson receaved an Express from Gen'l Harrison and dispached an answer by a Barge about twelve o'clock Capt. Payne carried it the wind quite fair. In the evening Col. Johnson shewed me the letter from Gen'l Harrison which by order of the Secretary of War we were directed to repair to Kaskaskias and report ourselves to Gov. Edwards which is wild In the Extreme because it would be a month before we could get there and then our time would be nearly out--the prospect from my tent on the Lake is delightful beyond description. Sometimes smooths and tranquil at other time the rolling waves dashing against the shore fills the mind with an idea of the Majestic grandeur of the scene the various events cannot be accounted for times and seasons change for the best gd.

July 10th & 11th--Lay in camp attending to our horses and conversing upon the subject of our future operations.

July 12th--An order issued from the Col. to change our camp upon the Margin of the lake on Rising ground about 250 yards above the mouth of Huron river and below the first cove swamp. The men were prohibited from leaving camp without leave of the officer of the day and we made a breast-work around our camp which was 150 yards square. We have a fine view of the lake and our boats which were sent to Cleveland returned about Midnight with corn for our horses. Our orders were positive as to marching to Kaskaskias & we must obey after all our fine prospects of going on to Malden & conquering Canada. The world is completely turned round with us--We called our Breastwork Camp Johnson.

July 13th--Clear and pleasant--we drew forage & Rations of Beef and flour only and made every preparation to march on tomorrow morning on our destined rout - to Lower Sandusky, Upper Sandusky, Urbanna, Piqua, Greenville, Fort Harrison, Vincennes & Kaskaskia. Capts. Matson & Combs started and I continued in my camp on the margin of the lake which when we are about to leave impresses the mind with melancholly sensations.

July 14th--early as soon as we got something to eat we started and got to Fort Liberty on Pipe creek about ten o'clock then on ten miles until we got in the edge of the woods from the prararie and campt near a swamp, it rained on us nearly the whole night - wet and disagreeable.

July 15th--very soon made a start and marched over a very bad & disagreeable muddy road and got to Lower Sandusky early in the day. Ensign Adams took a left hand road & part of the company separated from us. We drew provisions for two days and marched off twelve miles up the Sandusky River to the Senaca Indian town a handsome place and fine grass we understood that part of our men who were parted from us were before - in the evening fine clear & pleasant - this Indian village had several good Log houses - the land around the town was fine and rich.

July 16th--early marched up to Fort Ball 18 miles from Lower Sandusky, a new Fort just building on the Banks of the Sandusky river about the size of Salt River in Kentucky, only two Blockhouses finished, we here crossed the river with my company to the South side and took a pathway and marched 20 miles passed a small Indian village at 14 miles distance & a creek called Tiomockary where there was fine bluegrass we crossed the river into an old Indian town & prararie for 6 miles to upper Sandusky Fort passing a settlement of Wyandot Indians, who are friendly, the country around U. Sandusky is prararie and grown with fine grass - we campt on the edge of a Prararie about a mile south of the fort and draw rations for 3 days but only got two.

July 17th--did not start until ten o'clock I got the company nearly all off before I started. John Springate sick for 7 miles in bad Prairie and groves then woodland. We crossed several small creeks and at ten miles crossed another Tiomocary and campt on rising ground 2 miles north of Scioto river. Raining and wet and some fine land.

July 18th--Started early crossed the Scioto & met 3 Wyandot Indians on the Bank and marched a bad road, missed our way and fell into Hull's road at Solomonstown an Indian village and campt a mile south west of it at an old bluegrass field near two fine springs - cloud & wet - fine prairies around it.

July 19th--Started early - got to __?__ block-house in five miles got fine corn for our horses and Bacon and flour & marched on 18 miles to a rising ground north of Kings creek fine grass in camp all night it rained, & a fine Prararie country.

July 20th--Started very early crossed Kings creek at Mr Pettys and travelled thro a Barren prararie country and fine grass and got to Urbanna a Handsome village situated on a level plain on Mad River surrounded with Prararies and handsome groves about 40 or 50 houses log and frame, several other companies arrived and after taking into view the situation of our horses I drew up the following Address to the Co. for the purpose of getting leave to Return thro Kentucky which was signed by all the officers present.

The Address as Follows:

Camp at Urbanna, State of Ohio

July 20th, 1813

Dear Sir:

It having become necessary to address you upon the present situation of the regiment of mounted volunteers under your command, we consider it a part of our duty to you ourselves and our country to give a faithful and impartial statement of facts, and in so doing we act consistently with the great object of our entering into the service of our beloved country. At the mouth of the River Huron on Lake Eri on the evening of the 13th inst. we receaved the order of Gen'l Harrison to march to Kaskaskias. This order tho it cut off the high expectation which we had anticipated of seeing and aiding in the fall of Malden and the recapture of Detroit, together with the opportunity of avenging ourselves upon our cruel & relentless foes for their massacres at the River Resin and Camp Meigs--yet we receaved it with cheerfulness and submitted to it without a murmur and as a convincing proof of our willingness to obey the commands of Government, and seeing that our services were no longer wanted in the N. W. Army, some of us on the same evening and the remainder early next morning took up our line of march for the destined scene of our operations, with much difficulty and loss of Horses we have arrived at this with a determined resolution of going with you to any point to which we may be ordered by Government. For we assure you, that it is with pleasure, we serve under your command, as we have been eyewitnesses to the zeal, and fortitude with which you have laboured to be useful to your country & attentive to your regiment.

The principal object of this address is to urge the propriety of changing the rout proposed. In the first place it is a fact well known that no Regiment of men in the present or former war have ever performed the same marching traversed an equal extent of country in the same period of time. From Kentucky we reached Fort Wayne the 7th of June a distance of three hundred miles on the same evening of our arrival in a few hours we performed a march of war twenty miles in pursuit of the enemy and again on the 9th we pursued our march agreeable to the order of Gen'l Harrison to the Elkhart & St Joseph's River of Lake Michigan visitting in a circuit of 200 miles several Indian villages which we found deserted and abandoned by their former owner and again to Fort Meigs 100 miles, the greater part of which marching was performed by forced marches of from 20 to fifty miles per day so anxious were we to meet in honorable combat the enemies of our country - and again to the River Resin and back a distance of seventy-two miles, in about one day & night - by which we have broke down & exhausted the best of our horses - then from the Rapids to the mouth of Huron River 70 miles & back, to this place 150 miles the greatest part of which marching you have yourself witnessed to have been over as bad roads as ever human beings traveled - Not to name the black swamp alone between Fort Meigs and Portage River, where many of our horses sunk under us, By which many were forced to abandon their all & walk at the hazard of their lives, or take comrades who were left to take care of them, these things tho they have not damped our spirits or lessened our zeal to serve our country, yet we assure you it has much weakend our horses by losses and fatigue that it will be impossible for them even at ten miles per day to reach Kaskaskias, a distance of nearly 450 miles along the proposed rout by Fort Harrison & Vincennes without a sacrifice of at least two thirds of our horses that are left. This would lead to an immense loss of private Property without any possible advantage to our country because we would have to march thro a wilderness of two hundred miles filled with swamps, and when we arrived at Vincennes our horses would be rendered entirely useless and the object of our going to that Quarter would be frustrated --

In addition to these things we have left fractions of several of our companies at Fort Meigs and Winchester to act as scouting parties to collect whom would much retard our progress - these considerations after maturely weighing them in our own minds have induced us to petition you for a change of the rout so far as to permit the different companies to have an opportunity of remounting their men who have lost their horses and recruiting those now broken down - this would not only be of immense service to our country but would save much private property & we would be enabled to reach Kaskaskias as soon if not sooner that we possibly could by proposed way and carry with us an entire and effective Regiment fit for any service Government may choose to order. Many men would be added to us by marching thro Kentucky and the difference is the distance when we take into view these advantages can be no object as on the one hand we would carry with us an effective force and on the other a mere fraction of a Regiment composed of lane & exhaused horses. We have not stated these things with a view of either avoiding our enemies or the service of our country - You who witnessed perseverance of your men, their zeal fortitude under the most fatiguing circumstances cannot harbor an idea of the kind - our countrymen and government cannot for a moment if they know our situation require impossibilities of us, or that we should be merely employed in marching thro a wilderness to no purpose. To serve our country is our greatest ambition - to serve it faithfully and effectively is our most ardent wish and to accompany you in the discharge of our duty to any quarter of our wide and extensive Frontier will always give us pleasure. If our country expects services from us she must let us be placed in a proper situation and we pledge ourselves that we will not stand back in the hour of Trial --

We are with Respect &c:

Upon which the Col. soon after issued the following order, which was receaved with great satisfaction --

Viz --

Camp at Urbana - July 20th, 1813 -

The Commandant of the Mounted Regiment has receaved the communication of the officers of the Mounted Regiment, requesting a change of the Rout to Kaskaskias by the way of Kentucky for the purpose of remounting themselves, and it was not until the arrival of the Regiment that the entire impractibility of carrying to Kaskaskias one half of hte horses of the Regt. without Recruiting many days, or of changing the Rout to Kentucky, under the whole view of the subject no hesitation exists as to the propriety and evident necessity of granting the request of the officers of the Regt. It is therefore granted with the advice of the field officers present. The Mounted Regt. will march by companies to Kentucky & Rendevouz at Vincennes on the 20th of August next. The captains are authorized to accept volunteers for 60 or 90 days if required so as to augment their companies to 125 privates each. The companies convenient will Rendevous at the Great Crossing the 12th of August the ballance at Louisville on the 15th.

(Signed) RH. M. JOHNSON, Col. R. M. V.

In the evening we drew Forage for one day & Rations for two and made every preparation for an early start on our return thro Kentucky past Home to Vincennes.

July 21st--My company left Urbanna about an hour by sun and marched thro a country of fine level land 14 miles to Springfield a small village on a Handsome plain on a branch of Mad river it contains 20 or 30 houses chiefly of log & frame then 10 miles to Yellow Spring then 8 miles to the Little Miami near where old Chilicothe stood, we passed thro this place and in 3 miles passed Xenia a beautiful little village with 4 or 5 brick houses and a handsome brick court house with a steeple, we marched on about 1 3/4 miles to old Mr. John Grundy's a neibor formerly in Kentucky, where we staid all night & were well treated.

July 22nd--Started early recrossed the Little Miami in four miles and arrived at Lebanon 24 miles about 1 o'clock where we drew forage and provisions. This is a thriving town of upwards of 100 houses with a handsome brick court house and situated in the forks of Turtle creek a stream large enough for Mills, industry and frugality appears here to walk hand in hand, the day was warm and sultry and roads from the lands fine for farms - we lay all night at a Mr Stouts 12 miles short of Reading.

July 23rd--Up early and passed Reading a small village of ten or fifteen houses chiefly of log and to the Righthand road down Mill Creek to the Hamilton Road and got to Cincinnati at 12 oclock where we staid several hours and got some things from the stores and drew 3 days provisions in Money - viz - 10 cents a day - my company was separated and marched by Messes and several of the boys were sick. I crossed the Ohio at Newport about 3 o'clock and came on ten miles to a Mr. John Marshalls the 2nd house from the top of the dry Ridge, where the hatefulness of domestic feuds were fully exemplified we made to tarry all night at the expense of hearing some scolding.

July 24th--Started soon and traveled the whole day on the dry Ridge, dry and hot enough. Some of my men still sick - we lay all night at a Mr Nelsons 3/4 of a mile from the foot of the dry ridge and had plenty and were well treated.

July 25th--early we started Col. Thompson with us we returned past Craig's Mill on North Elkhorn and stopt at a Mr Thompsons who gave us dinner and plenty to drink without a cent, indeed the people are kind to us beyond asking. We then came on to a Mr. Dickeys 3 miles short of Versailles where we staid all night and were treated like lords at not a cent expense hospitality and kindness breathes amongst our Citizens.

July 26th--early start came thro Versailles and on within 4 miles of the River where we treated at no expense then on to the Kentucky River which we crossed about ten o'clock stopt at Capt. McCouns, hospitality and plenty, then on home where I arrived at 2 o'clock. My uxor (1) had been very unwell and my domestic affairs as well as I could expect. Our gratitude to the supreme Ruler of the universe ought to be called forth upon a safe return thro hardships and difficulties of upward of 1000 miles march the greater part of which thro an enemies country. . .


The movements of the N. W. Army are vain unless we can command the lakes for it is beyond the power of man to feed the army by land, our Government have not men enough to carry on the war as it ought, lives and money might be saved by calling men enough to finish the business as once the country thro which we have marched will one day be a theatre of great transactions - I can see in imagination towns & Citizens and an immense trade, which one day is to make the country bordering on the lakes the richest and most important section of the union, it is necessary that Canada should be ours because to permit England to still own will one day be a thorn in our side - the country bordering on the lakes is formed for trade, farmers & shepherds for no country on earth exceed it for cattle and stock of all kinds.

July 27th--1813--At home all day - several friends to see me - tired and very much exhausted.

July 28th--Went to Harrodsburgh saw many of my old friends & out about 3 miles to Mr. Bonta's. I find that upon the subject of the Election my prospects are flattering. I returned home in the evening.

July 29th--At several of my neighbors houses - all peace & quietness.

July 30th--I started early went past Mrs. Cardwell's to Clarke McAfee's & met Gen'l Ray and crossed Salt River and went Past Jos. Lyon's, Mr. W. & Abr. Sharpe & P. Jordon and I went to Lieut. Cardwells and got some Handbills to raise some more men and then back to Jas. McAfee's and staid all night - the election occupied our attention and I have no ground to be discouraged yet.

July 31st--Got home early--Majr. Gibson & his family with us all night and staid till evening - he was from Tennessee - I went to town in the evening and got the following order and returned home again:


The march of the Mounted Regt. is changed and again attached to the North Western Army under the command of Gen'l Harrison, the Commandant of the Regt. having receaved an order from the Gen'l. to that effect, the General having receaved a letter from the War department, that the mounted Regiment would remain with, and be under his immediate command. Thereupon the companies under the command of Jacob Stucker, Robt. B. McAfee, Richard Matson, James Davidson, Jacob Elliston, Sam'l R. Combs and Capt. Warfield, except that part of his company which was enrolled from Boone County, will rendevous at the great crossing, Scott county on the 15th of August next, and the companies under the command of Capts. James Coleman, William Rice, Lieut. Hamilton formery under Capt. Craig and that part of Capt. Warfield's company which was from Boone, to Rendezvous at Newport on the 17th day of August. The officers are particularly requested to make ever exertion to march complete companies, the new recruits of Volunteers to be for Sixty days from the 20th of August & ninety days if required, which will correspond with the remainder of the service of the Mounted Regt.

July 26th-1813-
(Signed) RH. M. JOHNSON, Col. M. R.

N.B. Upon application to Lieut. Col. James Johnson the different companies will be supplied with their due proportion of 8 or 10 thousand dollars, which will be drawn from their accomodation. (Signed) R. M. J.

the above order at once proves that Gen'l Harrison or the Secretary of War, erred egregiously in ordering us from Huron, because the plainest dictates of common sense, would at once discover the absurdity of ordering a Mounted Regiment with horses worn down 600 miles to Kaskaskias. News also came that Fort Meigs was again beseiged by the British and Indians, which still more proves the impropriety of the Secretary's order, but so it is no blame can be attached to the Regt. for obeying the superior orders of Gen'l Harrison and the Secretary at War.

  • Go to August, 1813.

  • Transcriber's Notes:

    1: "uxor" is Latin for wife, in this case Mary Cardwell McAfee.

    Updated June 22, 2000. This transcription is copyrighted by . It may be freely used for non-commercial purposes and family research, but must not be used for any other purpose without written permission from the transcriber.